There have been few developments with regards to solar energy in west-Africa while other parts of the Africa region explores solar alternatives against thermal and hydro power generation. Morocco’s Ouarzazate in North Africa is expecting to launch the Africa’s largest solar infrastructure by 2020 and possibly the world’s largest solar plant generating a whopping 580 Megawatts larger than California’s operational 390 Megawatts of power. However, Nigeria is about to set pace in West-Africa through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a first implementing phase expecting to power over 1 million homes.
Reports from other countries within the West African nations does not show interest in high dependency on renewables for power generation within the next few years. Although some countries had good targets per policy, they are still slacking in implementation and performance. Ghana exhibits just some couple of solar infrastructure with the largest situated at Winneba at the Central Region of Ghana, but the infrastructure only produces just some few megawatts of power – but the country has a vision to generate 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. In Togo and other neighboring countries, there are no significant impact of renewable energy on their power generation sector.
Nigeria, through the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, did sign a solar Power Purchase Agreement involving over ten project developers. The signed PPA which is the country’s maiden PPA towards solar power generation. Cumulatively, there is an estimated 975 megawatts of solar power to be generated for utilization under the PPA which is expected to run through a period of 20 years. The project will commence with a 75 megawatts solar infrastructure to be implemented by Pan Africa Solar (developer) and an European – Nigerian power generation and supply investor. The 75 megawatts will be hosted in Katsina state and implemented with support from another US-based developer. Accordingly, it is expected to be the largest solar development within the west-African region and even beyond.
Pan Africa Solar has also made public that it has an objective to develop 1,000 megawatts of solar generated power plants in Nigeria and thus, expanding the countries clean energy usage and meeting its power demand. Through media reports, the CEO of Pan Africa Solar, has mentioned that he is anticipating to attract an investment of over 1billion USD within the five years ahead.
On finance, JCM Capital will be partnering on the first project under the 20 year PPA at Katsina state. JCM Capital has mentioned that the 75MW project attracting an estimate cost of 146 million USD and is anticipated to sell power at a fixed rate of 11.5 USD/kWh. The project also includes a financing aspect coming from the Netherlands Development Finance Company. Additionally, JCM highlighted that the project has been under development for some years now and signing the PPA with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading is a very great step towards the success of the project. The project will now put Nigeria on the spotlight, when it comes to renewable energy, particularly, Solar!